Braving Twitterland

Dear tweeting reader,

For years I wore a badge of honor – no social networking for me. I didn’t care how hard anyone, whether it be agent, editor, publisher, or friend, pushed me, I would resist. I would not become one of THOSE  people.

Funny thing, no one pushed. So then, like a reluctant toddler with a strange meal in front of her, I got curious. I started poking around on Facebook and Twitter. “Well, maybe I’ll just try it for a bit,” I thought. “But if I hate it, I’m quitting. No one can make me eat this if I hate it.”

So here I am. Tweeting. Blogging. Facebooking. And I have to say, it’s a lot of fun. But of all the new avenues I’m exploring, Twitter is by far the most surprising and weirdest. You’re limited to 140 characters, so it’s like a social networking haiku. And there are thousands upon thousands of possible listeners and speakers.

I started tossing one-liners out into the fray, not entirely sure who might be listening. I began following a few people, a few people signed up to follow me. Before I knew it I had a little community that includes me, my editor, my publisher, some fantastic writers, a few old friends, my mom, and a brown bear in Denali.

Some of my favorite comments are funny. DenaliBear tweets about his life on the tundra, at least I think it’s a “he.”

Denali Bear — Two inches of snow in the park today. Maybe I should go back to bed till next summer. 11 May

And I also follow Conan O’Brien on Twitter, since I don’t have television reception.

Conan O’Brien — Borders books filed for bankruptcy. How do you sleep at night, Angry Birds?

Twitter is also a great way to find out what other writers are reading, including Alaska’s own Don Rearden.

Don Rearden @nprbooks Favorite short stories? I’m a big fan of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things they Carried”

But there is a surprising, heartwarming aspect to Twitter that I didn’t expect. Fellow authors are encouraging me, and I have a chance to speak out for authors I’m enjoying.

Urrealism Luis Urrea — Missing my newspaper days while finishing up @petehamillnyc’s Tabloid City. Also loving @EowynIvey’s The Snow Child. #beaprep #fridayreads

Eowyn Ivey — Ditto @Urrealism Tabloid City @petehamillnyc made me miss my news days, too. Now at end of Queen of America — fantastic story! #fridayreads

And in some small way I feel closer to the crew at Little, Brown & Co., my publisher.

Little, Brown and Co — Team Little, Brown: Amanda made awesome PB/chocolate/cornflake/peanut brownie treats. They’re in her cube, while they last. #lbeditor

Eowyn Ivey– @littlebrown Hmm. It would go so well with my coffee. But I suppose 3,000 miles from AK to NYC too far for to go for awesome brownie treats.

Amanda T — @EowynIvey Don’t worry, I’ll have a secret stash of baked goods for you at BEA.

One of the reasons I resisted social networking is because I didn’t want to do the hard sell. I didn’t want to be out there pushing my wares like a street vendor with a trench coat. “Pssst. I’ve got some books over here. Cheap books. Come on, take a look.”

But I see that I can come at it from a different angle. It can be about supporting other authors, cheering on other people, making new friends, and sharing a few laughs along the way.

Logging out,

Eowyn

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Mathis
    May 13, 2011 @ 11:08:43

    Like you, Eowyn, I resisted the social networking for a long time. After opening the store, Lydia pushed me to do a Facebook page for it and had to do a personal page as well. And like you, I’m having fun with it. Reconnecting with some very long lost friends has been great. The Twitter thing though…

  2. Jeff Abbott
    May 16, 2011 @ 03:11:48

    Eowyn: I’m also a Hachette author and approached Twitter with a bit of uncertainty (I did not want to be pushing my wares, as you said); but I enjoy that it serves as a news feed for me. I have a list of authors and a list of book people on my main Twitter page if you’re looking for more authors or publishing people to follow. They offer a steady stream of links and insights I don’t think I would find without Twitter (which can be a distraction, too, so I try and ration my time there). Good luck with your book!

  3. Talei Loto
    May 16, 2011 @ 03:16:06

    Twitter does seem overwhelming at first but once you’re in, – you’re IN! It’s fun, you find other supportive writers, and it’s very informative! Social networking, its pretty much normal these days. Yes, I am addicted, can you tell? 😉

  4. Alison's Book Marks
    May 16, 2011 @ 03:29:31

    I resisted Twitter, too, and only signed up to “save” my name…I say this as I’m approaching my 2,000th Tweet.

    Twitter is a must for BEA!

  5. Eowyn Ivey
    May 16, 2011 @ 04:08:12

    Wonderful to hear from some fellow authors! If your comments are any indication, this may be only the beginning for me in Twitterland. Thanks for reading! And Sue — you might just give it a try … 🙂

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